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Decorating for a party, whether it’s a casual get-together with friends or a formal event like your wedding, can be an exciting and daunting task. After all, you want your house to look amazing but also you don’t want it to be too much or too little! For those occasions when you need some inspiration and guidance on how to decorate, here are five expert tips on how to decorate for parties.

Set Up a Theme

Theme parties are incredibly popular, but they’re also incredibly expensive to throw. One way to create an eye-catching party without breaking your budget is to set up a theme and decorate accordingly. If you plan to serve champagne, do you really need any other decoration? With no distracting elements in sight, everyone will be intrigued by how simple and chic your event is. Remember: less is more!

Play Up Your Space

The first thing you need to do when decorating for a party is think about how your space will be used. This means having an idea of what kind of party you’re throwing: Will it be full of kids or adults? Will there be food involved? How many people will be at your party? Once you have an idea of what your space needs to accommodate, you can play up those areas and create fun, interesting designs around them.

Start With Lighting

When you’re throwing an evening party, start with your lighting. Too much ambient light can make people feel self-conscious and uncomfortable, which in turn makes it harder to have fun. Install dimmer switches on your overhead lights or hang some mood lighting near your living room furniture if that’s where you’ll be hanging out. If there are rooms in your house where you don’t want to install any permanent fixtures, consider buying some battery-powered lanterns and placing them throughout those spaces instead.

Add Some Color

Color schemes have an enormous impact on how we feel and how our guests feel. For example, red is associated with passion and energy. Yellow is commonly associated with happiness and optimism. If you’re having a party that should provoke some type of emotion—whether positive or negative—consider selecting colors that best invoke those feelings in your audience.

Don’t Forget About Tablescapes

Tablescapes are one of those details that can really bring an event together. There’s no reason to blow your entire budget on food when you can add interest and style with some simple decorations. In fact, tablescapes are among some of my favourite party decor—they’re easy to put together (and take down), super budget-friendly, and can have a big impact on how your event looks. I’ve compiled 5 tips to make sure your tablescape is just as gorgeous as everything else at your next soiree.

Get specific decorations if you must

Have you ever been to a party where you knew it was someone’s first time hosting? Their decorations didn’t match their theme, and it felt awkward as hell. Save your friends from that embarrassment by advising them of these five tips. For example, if you must get your hands on specific decorations for your theme (i.e., an inflatable palm tree if your party is in Hawaii), be sure to remind them ahead of time so they can plan to get them. Without these reminders, hosts are liable to buy cheap decorations that don’t fit with their theme. When in doubt, double check.

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